In this file photoPhilip Snyman is in action against Australia in the quarter finals of the the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
In this file photoPhilip Snyman is in action against Australia in the quarter finals of the the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Springbok Sevens skipper Snyman calls time on his career

Time of article published Oct 8, 2019

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Springbok Sevens skipper Philip Snyman has called time on his career, and he did so as a player with "a full heart and no regrets". 

The experienced Blitzbok retired with a career-ending back injury as South Africa's most successful Sevens captain, after leading SA to two World Series titles and a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.

The 32-year-old debuted for the Blitzboks in 2008 and was part of the historic squad who won their first World Series title that season, while he also bagged an Olympic bronze medal in 2016.

Snyman represented the Blitzboks in 62 World Series tournaments and 276 matches, scoring 69 tries and 15 conversions for a total of 376 points. He captained the side in 28 tournaments and represented South Africa at the Rugby World Cups in Dubai (2008), Moscow (2013) and San Francisco (2018), making him the only Blitzbok to play at three World Cup Sevens tournaments.

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said that many Blitzboks players are better because of Snyman's contributions. 

“I played with him and then coached him and in both roles he excelled,” said Powell.

“It was never about himself and our system benefitted tremendously from having someone of Philip's calibre as a leader and as a player, always available and willing to contribute, often at his own expense. He drove and lived our culture and this team and many players in it are better people because of that.”

Snyman said it was a bittersweet emotion when he heard that it is all over.

“It is a reality for any rugby player that his career may be cut short by injury at any given time, and I was blessed in many ways to have played for more than a decade,” said Snyman. 

“In a perfect world, one would prefer to end your career on your own terms, but I am not complaining. Rugby brought me so many brilliant memories and afforded me so many opportunities, and my path crossed with such a diverse and wonderful group of people. I will be forever grateful for that.

“It would only be fitting to start with every person I ever called a teammate. Not only did we celebrate together; we did the hard yards together. Thanks for having my back on and off the field. I can truly call you brothers, said the midfielder turned forward.

“The three coaches who shaped my career – Pine Pienaar, who believed in me before there was much to believe in; Paul Treu, who first believed in me as a sevens player and Neil Powell, who believed in me as a person. Coach Neil – I have the greatest respect for you and will always regard you as a mentor. Thank you.”

“To every supporter – you are ultimately why we do what we do. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worn the No 2 Springbok Sevens Jersey for more than 60 tournaments and am now returning this jersey for the next player to make his own. Today I am retiring as player with a full heart and no regrets. My gratitude is endless.”



IOL Sport

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